Saturday, 21 March 2015

Classroom Observation using Harvard's Ladder of Feedback

As an extension to my previous post on Harvard's Project Zero, here is the post on the Ladder of Feedback. The "Ladder of Feedback" is an approach to assessing for understanding that establishes a culture of trust and constructive support. The Ladder of Feedback follows a sequence of 4 steps when providing feedback.

1. Clarify
2. Value
3. State Concerns
4. Suggest.

We used the Ladder of Feedback to provide comments to an assigned group during our orientation presentation. We were tasked to present on Curriculum Design for our specific subject and each group had to listen to the presentations by other groups.

To find out more on the ladder of feedback:

Harvard's Project Zero

Since I've joined a new work environment, I haven't had much time to reflect and post about what I've learnt. Seriously, the depth and breath of information that has been loaded into my brain for the last 3 months is near what I've accumulated over the last 4 years as a teacher. A case of information overload from the incessant workshops, seminars and talks that I have been attending as a result of my involvement in curriculum design work.

It turns out that curriculum design work is a whole new ball game to me. It is a new playing field and the future of a certain subject and the expectations of a whole nation's responsibility now resides heavily on my shoulders.

For today, I will like to share on Harvard's Project Zero, which is about making Thinking Visible. It has its roots in 1967 and Howard Gardner, the psychologist who theorized multiple intelligences, is the Senior Director of this project.

I could not really translate my learning into practice when I attended a Thinking Routines workshop conducted by the Singapore's Teacher Union some 2 years ago. But somehow, the recent sharing on Harvard's Project Zero enlightened me and I could finally see what this could lead to in terms of enriching student's thinking with content learning across different subject areas. It is not only suitable for the teaching of languages and the arts where opinions and justification are needed. It is applicable for the mathematics and sciences as well.

In short, it is for practitioners who want to encourage the development of a culture of thinking in their classrooms to deepen student's learning and to cultivate their thinking skills. The premise for this is that thinking is invisible. Visible Thinking includes strategies of making students' thinking visible to themselves, to their peers, and to the teacher, so they get more engaged by it and come to manage it better for learning and other purposes. Essentially, students have to think about what they are thinking (metacognition).

Harvard's Project Zero has uncovered routines, which are simple structures for use across various grade levels and content. These routines could include a sample set of questions or a short sequence of steps, that can be used repeatedly in the classrooms so that students and teachers are familiar with this thinking culture.

There are 4 types of routines - Core, Fairness, Truth and Creativity. Some of us are may be familiar with See, Think, Wonder and Think Pair Share. What about Circle of Viewpoints, Compass Points and Stop, Look, Listen?

Ideally, I will like to see how a combination of these routines can be used in the classrooms and how that culture of thinking can be set in the classrooms.

For more on Visible Thinking strategies, go to Visible Thinking

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Classtools' QR Code Treasure Hunter

This could be a suitable game for kineaesthetic learners, essentially learners who are constantly on the move and simply cannot sit still. Fancy an afternoon of running around the school looking for posters stuck with QR Codes and scanning in the QR Codes with a tablet to reveal questions online? After doing so, learners key in their responses to the questions online using the tablets.

This is what a student will typically see on their smartphone/tablet after having scanned in the QR code.

Here's how this can work.

1. Submit!
Input a series of questions and answers using QR Treasure Hunt Generator.

2. Create!
Get a QR code for each question.

3. Display!
Put the QR codes around your school.

4. Begin!
Students find and answer the questions.

A case study can be found here.

1) Refer to QR Treasure Hunt Generator for implementation
2) Search for 500 most recent quizzes from 500 Most recently created quizzes using the QR Treasure Hunt Generator
3) Using QR Codes in the Classroom

My Own QR Code

After viewing the latest visual QR codes, I decided to create my own QR codes recently. QR Codes are essentially ways to link to content online using a QR Code scanner. They are great for promoting and marketing. Look at some of these designs below.

Some of the really beautiful visual QR code designs can be found at VisualLead Designs

Starbucks QR Code Picture QR Code
Starbucks QR Code
Avon Lady Christin QR Code qrcode design
AVON Cosmetics QR Code

I was quite amazed by the versatility in design by visualead. Unfortunately as I am only using a free version of the Visual QR Code, it is not ad-free. Both however do a nice job of redirecting to my blog when I tried using my QR Reader on my iphone.

Look at my 2 creations below.

1. VisualLead

2. QRStuff

Edshelf - Your perfect search engine for educational apps

Not sure of where to find an app that meets your needs? Go to to type in key words to search or explore their Collections for specific apps.

You can also write a review after using a listed app by becoming a member.

Read through members' reviews to find out usability and functions of the app.

Some of the collections that I most frequent are:

Adaptive Learning
Classroom Management
Computer Programming